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Mass. School Uses 3-D Printing To Help Student Create Prosthetic Hand

BOSTON (CBS) -- A school project in Chestnut Hill could change lives. One student is designing a prosthetic hand with his school's help and is using 3-D technology to make the design a reality.

Christian de Weck's laptop has a NASA sticker on it and one day he very well may work there.

He is a student at Beaver Country Day in Chestnut Hill. It's there where he is perfecting his design for a prosthetic hand.

Christian de Weck (WBZ-TV)

Christian wants disabled classmates to have an affordable option.

"I had an idea as to how I could help students with tasks during school," said Christian.

Christian started with some sketches of a hand that would use a motor and strings to get fingers to grip.

Once he had his final design on paper, he had to come up with a way to actually manufacture it, and it just so happens that at Beaver Country Day, they have five 3-D printing machines.

Christian's designs for a prosthetic hand (WBZ-TV)

Christian's teachers helped him take that design, print the pieces, and create a hand.

"All of the fingers are jointed, and then the strings go from the very tips inside the hand," said Christian.

Those strings connect to a servo motor, which connects to a sensor that rests on the person's bicep.

"The person would flex their arm, that would touch off that process, and the fingers would grip," said Christian. "So, in the end, I envision this being attached to a strap on your arm."

Christian de Weck's prosthetic hand (WBZ-TV)

That gripping would allow disabled students to carry their school supplies or open doors, and Christian has equipped it with a ruler and a dump drive, in the thumb.

"I want it to be almost customizable, in the sense that they can pick and choose what they want on it, but it's still able to help them replace the limb they don't have," said Christian.

Christian doesn't even want to sell the prosthetics once he's done, he wants to give them away for free.

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